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Silence in Nevada City

Sam Corey
Staff Writer
Religious leaders in Nevada City kneeled in silence to honor George Floyd and other black Americans killed by police in recent months. One protestor held a photo of Rayshard Brooks who was shot and killed by an Atlanta police officer on Saturday night.
Sam Corey/scorey@theunion.com

They were silent for almost 9 minutes.

At 1:15 p.m. Sunday a group of interfaith leaders — including Quakers, Unitarian Universalists, Methodists, Baha’i members, Sufis, Lutherans and others — gathered to honor George Floyd by kneeling and remaining silent for almost 9 minutes in Nevada City’s Robinson Plaza.

The time was significant — a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds despite Floyd crying out in pain and fearing for his life before his death.

In Nevada City, about 20 people knelt in complete silence, except for the hum of cars passing by. A few bystanders nearby joined the group to kneel in solidarity with Floyd once they understood what faith leaders were doing.

Rev. Jerry Farrell, the lead minister at Unity in the Gold Country Spiritual Center in Grass Valley, was present at the silent protest and said that, in a predominately white county, it’s important for all people — but particularly spiritual and religious leaders — to stand up for injustice against those who are ill-treated in society.

“The teachings of Jesus… have always been a message about the downtrodden,” he said.

If people don’t speak up, he said, then local residents will believe that racial injustice in Minnesota or Atlanta — or any state — is to be condoned.

Elizabeth Fries, a member of a Unitarian Universalist church in town, agreed.

“It’s important to honor (Floyd) through the practice of kneeling,” she said.

Fries said she didn’t want her silence to be taken for compliance in racial injustice, which spurred her to kneel in solidarity with other faith leaders and spiritual practitioners on Sunday.

Although no signs were held during the silent vigil, pictures of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks — the latter of whom was a black man shot and killed during a Saturday police confrontation — were held by some protestors.

Later Sunday, protestors had planned another silent vigil in Nevada City in honor of Floyd and others.

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey email scorey@theunion.com or call 530-477-4219.


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